Atria’s Tech Strategy Evolves With New CTO, Launch of Subsidiary Glennis Solutions

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Atria Senior Living has named a new top technology executive, shortly after launching Glennis Solutions as a subsidiary company providing tech offerings that are purpose-built for senior living.

These moves set the stage for how the Louisville, Kentucky-based provider will approach technology in the years to come, CEO John Moore told Senior Housing News. Having a strong tech strategy in place is particularly important because Covid-19 drastically accelerated the adoption of tech across senior living operations, from care delivery to sales.

"I think it’s as dramatic in senior housing as it is for bricks-and-mortar retail, how everything has become digital,” Moore said.

But, the launch of Glennis was not spurred by the pandemic; it was a long time coming, made possible by Atria’s gradual creation of various homegrown technology systems and platforms to help run its large portfolio, which currently includes more than 200 communities across 28 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces.

The company’s chief information officer, Ali Sareea, has played a key role in its tech efforts. On Wednesday, Atria announced that Sareea has been named executive vice president and chief technology officer (CTO) of Glennis.

Sareea’s move to the subsidiary company left a leadership role to fill at Atria. The provider has tapped Chris Nall to fill that role. As Atria’s CTO, Nall has a mandate to lead Atria’s wide-ranging tech initiatives, many of which are on display in the company’s property in Newport Beach, California — which Atria considers an example of the “senior living community of the future.”

Glennis takes flight

In reflecting on what has shaped Atria’s approach to technology, Moore highlighted the example of trying to purchase a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

About 15 years ago, he and his leadership team were on the hunt for a CRM but dissatisfied with how off-the-shelf products would translate to senior living. Most products that would work well for, say, a wine distributor that needed to manage relationships with stores and restaurants, Moore said — but they fell short of meeting Atria’s needs.

“Senior living is a custom sale and it has a lot of things that are unique to it,” he explained.

The solution: Build a custom CRM in-house, with the types of capabilities and features needed in senior living. For instance, the ability to track how many times a prospect uses the word “need” when engaging with a website chat feature, and flagging that as worthy of closer attention from the sales team. Or, the ability to track individuals as they interact with different Atria communities in the same market, to prevent the company from competing against itself and instead empower communities to work collaboratively to close a sale.

Thanks in large part to Louisville’s status as a business hub — home base for companies such as Humana, GE Appliances, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the epicenter of the bourbon industry — Atria was able to attract the tech talent to create an integrated platform for senior living operations.

Other tech that Atria created includes an iOS-based care management app that enables more efficient time management during shifts, and a resident and family engagement app. That engagement app proved invaluable during the peak of Covid-19, enabling family members and loved ones to communicate with residents and giving them visibility into residents’ health indicators such as temperature.

Read more at Senior Housing News.